A factory might be one of the most unlikely settings for a circus, especially one where the workers are acrobats and the machines are circus props. Cirque Mechanics boldly leads audience members into a world of colorful characters, daring acrobatics, and innovative mechanics with “Birdhouse Factory.” The Moss Arts Center presents two performances of the popular production on Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

The performances will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Cirque Mechanics finds its heart in stories of American ingenuity. In its return to the Moss, Cirque brings its family-favorite “Birdhouse Factory,” a simple story of daily life in a “widgets” factory circa 1935. Here, workers are brought together by the most unlikely of events: a bird accidentally injured by the main steam boiler. The accident and caring for the bird bring the workers closer and inspire them to break away from the efficiency and monotony of the assembly-line mentality to display their true inner talents and abilities. In the process, they use their bodies and machines to build birdhouses in a human, joyful, and soulful way.

In “Birdhouse Factory,” a contortionist performs on a turntable powered by unicyclists, a trapeze artist flies high thanks to the spins of an acrobat inside a giant gear-like wheel, and trampoline wall artists defy the laws of physics by virtually walking on air. The production was inspired, in part, by the masterful industry murals of Mexican-born artist Diego Rivera, the outrageous illustrations of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, and the slap-stick humor of Charlie Chaplin’s film “Modern Times.” While these inspirations make “Birdhouse Factory” artful, nostalgic, and funny, the true essence of the show comes from the circus.

Birdhouse Factory” delivers a timeless message of hope, camaraderie, and the power of the collaborative human spirit when presented with adversity. Although conceptualized prior to the pandemic and inspired by the Great Depression, it addresses the challenges faced by the industry and workers during unprecedented times. The story is one of imaginative recovery, where humans create magic when working together towards common goals. Audience members will be enchanted by the story of laughter, love, flight, and birdhouses.

Please note, strobe lighting effects will be used in this performance.

Related engagement events

Students, teachers, and families from Radford City and Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties will attend a free school-day performance of “Birdhouse Factory” offered for area public, private, and homeschools.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performances are $25-55 for general public and $10 for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test is required for those ages 12 and over to attend this performance. Masks are required at all times for patrons, visitors, and staff regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at the Moss Arts Center. More information about these requirements is available on the Moss Arts Center website.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email wiggertj@vt.edu during regular business hours.

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